Numerous dissident Turkish (and to a small number also foreign) journalists are still being tried for making use of freedom of expression. They are charged with "praising crime and a criminal", "inciting hatred and hostility amongst the public and humiliation of the public" and "violation of communication" according to Articles 215, 216 and 285 respectively of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). They are also alleged of having violated Article 24 of the Turkish Civil Code (TMK) on the "protection of personality against assault" and under provisions of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY).
The Prosecutor of Erzurum (eastern Anatolia), Osman Şananl, sues Radikal newspaper reporter İsmail Saymaz on the grounds of his book "The postmodern Jihad" where Şanal is supposedly described as a "supporter of postmodernism". The coming hearing is scheduled for 2 February.
Şanal is pressing a TL 7,000 (€ 3,500) compensation claim against Saymaz based on an alleged violation of Article 24 TMK. The trial is heard before the Ankara 11th Magistrate Court.
Trials based on interviews with KCK and PKK members
The case against Ercan Atay, Editor-in-Chief of the Batman Newspaper, will be continued on 22 February before the Batman Magistrate Criminal Court. Atay stands accused of a violation of Article 215 TCK by reason of his article entitled "Head of the KCK steering council Murat Karayılan: Landmines are not a method of the guerrilla".
Journalist Neşe Düzel and Taraf newspaper Editorial Manager Adnan Demir are facing imprisonment of up to 7.5 years each for their interview with Zübeyir Aydar and Adnan Demir, executives of the armed militant Kurdistan Workers Party/KONGRA/GEL, a parliament-like structure of the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK) as the umbrella organization which includes the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The interview entitled "A period of conflict was entered" was part of the series "Monday Talks" of the nation-wide daily.
Düzel and Demir are tried under Article 7 TMY (terrorist organizations). The next hearing before the Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court is set for 2 March.
Batman Post newspaper owner Mustafa Kemal Çelik is being litigated on the grounds of an interview with the family of PKK militant Mahsum Korkmaz, who was killed in the course of a military operation in 1986. The brother and the sister of the killed PKK member, Fehmi Korkmaz and Maşallah Dağ, are also tried in the scope of the case against Atay.
The defendants are charged with "praising a crime and a criminal". The tiral will be continued before the Batman 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court on 9 March.
The pretext of "violation of secrecy"
Journalist Saymaz from Radikal newspaper, Serkan Ocak as well as Ertan Kılıç and Nedim Şener from Milliyet newspaper stand trial at the Bakırköy (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on the grounds of an alleged breach of Article 285 TCK on the "violation of secrecy".
Ocak and Kılıç will have to appear at court on 28 April. Subject of the trial is their article "Were you going to overthrow the government?" that was published while the operations related to the investigation into the "Sledgehammer" coup plan were still going on.
Saymaz is in the dock for his news items on İbrahim Şahin, defendant of the "Ergenekon" case. The charges against Şener stem from his news article "Two interesting schemes from the police" published in the Milliyet daily in 2009. The next hearing will be held on 4 May.
Controversial Article 301
Taraf newspaper writer and Kurdish politician Orhan Miroğlu is facing trial because of his article "I cannot sleep with the waxing moon" published in the nation-wide daily on 2 November 2009. He is charged with Article 216 TCK. The first hearing of the case will be heard before the Kadıköy (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on 3 March.
The Metropolitan Mayor of Diyarbakır (south-eastern Turkey), Osman Baydemir, is tried over Article 301 TCK that bans "insults" to the Turkish state by reason of a press release he read out on 25 December 2009. The coming hearing is scheduled for 25 January at the Diyarbakır 3rd Magistrate Criminal Court. (EÇ/EÖ/VK)
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